Sunday, February 26, 2012

Too good for its own good? Siri rival about to get App Store boot

The App Store's T&C's have always made it clear that Apple doesn't like imitation, as section 8.3 says “Apps which appear confusingly similar to an existing Apple product or advertising theme will be rejected." The app Evi (iTunes link) is about to learn that lesson.

Evi, also available for Android (Free), isn't a 100 percent Siri clone, as it can't integrate with the calendar and perform tasks like that, but it can answer questions ... a lot of them ... and that's part of the Siri advertising campaign.

In fact, Evi had a database of more than one billion facts available at the time of launch, according to developer True Knowledge at the time of its release. Too much competition for Siri? True Knowledge CEO William Tunstall-Pedoe says that Evi's about to get the App Store ban.

His complaints about the ban may sound like sour grapes, but there's a measure of truth to them. He said,

"I don't think it takes too much of a leap of the imagination to realise that 'confusingly similar' is code for 'competitive with' – and that all the user and press reviews along the lines of 'now you don't need to buy a 4S – you can download Evi', 'better than Siri' etc. have resulted in a change of heart from Apple about allowing its users to get the app."
Such a ban would cut off updates for the over 200,000 users who have already purchased Evi from the App Store. The only recourse for them would be if Evi was moved to the Cydia store for jailbroken devices, and that wouldn't help those that are unjailbroken.

Evi would still be available in the Android Market, where its rating isn't good: 3.0 out of 5. Quite of a few of those ratings might rise if Evi integrated with Android, though, something it could probably do if the company wanted to.

Evi is still available in the App Store, but the question is, for how long?

Update: New reports indicate that although Apple has flagged the app, Apple is working with True Knowledge to smooth out the issues, rather than simply banning it from the App Store.

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